The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

2020, book #13: “ Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. “ — Toni Morrison

Finished on February 22, 2020

My sister, Julia, loved this book. She told me that it was a must read. There was no debate. It was already a done deal. Case closed. I needed to read this book and I’m glad that I did. While the characters of this book as a whole were not particularly important to me, the underlying messages were powerful and essential for me to spend time understanding and empathizing.

This is so beautifully explained. It’s spot on. I’ve been in love before — maybe even a few times I think. But honestly reflecting here, I think that much of that love was physcial, at least at first. Human thought is dangerous for sure. It allows you to spend time thinking about the what if’s and the shoulda coulda woulda’s. The leads to things like comparison, competition, and discouragement or second-guessing.

Pg. 122, Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another — physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.

I always admire women for this reason. They go through one of the most painful experiences imaginable and so many times women do so without complaints, without acknowledgment, and without gratitude. I love the ending of this segment. “Anyways, the baby come. Big old healthy thing.” After all that other stuff, the baby came and the baby was great. Amazing. I love it.

Pg. 125, The pains wasn’t as bad as I let on, but I had to let them people know having a baby was more than a bowel movement. I hurt just like them white women. Just ’cause I wasn’t hooping and hollering before didn’t mean I wasn’t feeling pain. What’d they think? That just ’cause I knowed how to have a baby with no fuss that my behind wasn’t pulling and aching like theirs? Besides, that doctor don’t know what he talking about. He must never seed no more foal. Who say they don’t have no pain? Just ’cause she don’t cry? ’Cause she can’t say it, they think it ain’t there? I fhtye looks in her eyes and see them eyeballs lolling back, see the sorrowful look, they’d know. Anyways, the baby come. Big old healthy thing.

If only people had the humility to actually act in this way on a regular basis. Most don’t. Most people (myself included many times) strive to take things into their own hands. That’s not something that we can do though, we don’t have the power to change lives apart from God.

Pg. 172, “I can do nothing for you, my child. I am not a magician. I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people. All I can do is offer myself to Him as the instrument through which he works. If He wants your wish granted, He will do it.”

Love is powerful. Love is big. Love is amazing. What kind of person are you? Really. At your soul, what kind of person are you? Someone who’s passionate? Hungry? Angry? Strong? Who are you? When you’re alone? When you’re with others?

Pg. 206, Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye.

This was probably one of the most moving things in the book for me. I needed to take some time to really reflect on this part of the book and what this all meant. I looked at is an analogy and comparison to people also. People that are bad influences for us can be looked at as bad soil. An unproductive and toxic work environment could also be looked at as bad soil. We are all going to encounter numerous plots of bad soil, it’s up to us to recognize where we can flourish and where we can build.

Pg. 206, And now when I see her searching the garbage — for what? The thing we assassinated? I talk about how I did not plant the seeds too deeply, how it was the fault of the earth, the land, of our town. I even think now that the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year. This soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live. We are wrong, of course, but it doesn’t matter. It’s too late. At least on the edge of my town, among the garbage and the sunflowers of my town, it’s much, much, much too late.

I gave this book a 3.5/5

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